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Supply Chain Professor Gives Hurricane Relief Advice

How to Help People Affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

Driehaus College of Business Associate Professor Nezih Altay
In the wake of hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the focus now turns to disaster relief and rebuilding affected areas. We asked Driehaus College of Business Associate Professor Nezih Altay, who researches disruption management and humanitarian supply chains, what is needed most for hurricane relief.

"At this point, what we, as the public should not do is to send in unsolicited goods such as old clothing, toys, etc. to the affected area," says Altay, who teaches in DePaul's Master of Science in Supply Chain Management program. "These items will simply take away from already scarce resources because someone needs to receive, sort and store these items. It takes hands, time and space to do all that.

"After a disaster, technical expertise--such as IT, construction, medical services, etc.--as well as labor are in high demand mainly because a lot of people need help at the same time that some of the locals are stuck or busy attending the needs of their own families. Affected communities, as well as the responders, will need food, water, medical attention initially, and other goods and services within a week or two to get back on their feet.

"The best thing to donate is cash. Cash is flexible, and response agencies and humanitarian organizations can buy whatever is needed with cash. Cash also does not take up time, labor and space. Furthermore, when you donate cash, items like clothing, toys, etc. can be purchased, injecting money into the local economy and helping the community recover.

"So, donate your time and knowledge, donate cash and donate it to the organizations that you trust."

Learn more about our faculty research and the MS in Supply Chain Management degree.